Michael Bloomberg is heading to Colorado to unveil his official campaign platform on gun control Thursday, but if the public is interested in hearing from the former New York mayor in person, they’re out of luck, according to CBS4 in Denver.
The event will take place at the Heritage Christian Center at Sable and Exposition in Aurora at 1:15 p.m., just a block from the theater where 12 people died and 70 others were hurt in the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado history. Bloomberg will announce his policy and hold a roughly hour-long discussion with survivors and gun control advocates. It will be closed to the public.
Bloomberg will use the 2012 Aurora theater massacre as the backdrop for his big announcement, and will likely talk about his efforts to change Colorado law in the wake of the shooting. In 2013, thanks to backing by Bloomberg, lawmakers in Colorado approved a ban on magazines over 15-rounds, as well as universal background check requirements. I suspect Bloomberg will talk up how he took on the NRA in Colorado and won, but won’t mention the lawmakers who lost their jobs over their support for the gun control bills.
I suspect as well that Bloomberg won’t talk about what’s happened to Colorado’s crime rate since those laws were passed. Former governor John Hickenlooper certainly didn’t bring it up when he recently touted the state’s gun control laws on Twitter.
Violent crime is actually up by more than 25% since Hickenlooper signed the universal background check and magazine ban.
Great job, John. https://t.co/6NbDFClazm
— Cam Edwards (@CamEdwards) December 4, 2019
That’s right. Violent crime is up by more than 25% since those laws took effect in Colorado. As it turns out, Bloomberg and Hickenlooper want to take on the NRA and legal gun owners, when they should be focusing their efforts on violent criminals instead.
The fact that this event isn’t open to the public is another sign that Bloomberg plans on running a highly scripted campaign with lots of TV ads and press conferences, but not a lot of public interactions where things could go off-script very quickly. The last thing Bloomberg needs is for pro-Second Amendment survivors of mass shootings like Evan Todd showing up to tell Bloomberg why he’s wrong, as happened to Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke when he too attempted to use the shooting in Aurora to bolster his presidential campaign.
As for the specifics of Bloomberg’s plan, I wouldn’t actually expect him to call for a Beto-style gun ban and compensated confiscation plan, though I do believe that Bloomberg wants that and much more. The calls for gun confiscation didn’t help O’Rourke, or Swalwell, or Kamala Harris, and Bloomberg is trying to present himself as a moderate, so I think it’s more likely that he announces a ban and a voluntary “buyback” of some kind.
It’s actually going to be hard for Bloomberg to stand out from other candidates in terms of his actual policies. After all, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg are supporting gun licensing and registration schemes, bans on rifles and magazines, confiscatory tax rates for gun and ammunition sales, and a host of other infringements on the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. How does Bloomberg stand out? Of course he can talk about the money and time he’s spent attacking the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, but in terms of actual policies I’m curious to see if he offers up anything new.
Ironically enough, while on Thursday Bloomberg will detail his plans to criminalize many aspects of legal gun ownership, on Wednesday he released his plan to reform the criminal justice system that he claims will result in fewer people going to prison.
In the U.S. there are nearly 110,000 gun deaths and injuries per year. These events often cause retaliation and perpetuate patterns of gun violence. Public-health approaches that treat the problem as an epidemic can disrupt patterns and drive down gun-related crime, incarceration, and costs.
Proposed Solution: Increase federal funding for programs like Cure Violence, which Bloomberg introduced in New York and which mobilizes local community members and credible authorities to dissuade others from committing violence.
Note that there’s no mention of gun control at all there, yet Thursday’s event will be all about putting new laws on the books that will treat gun ownership, not violent crime, as a public health crisis. We’ll be watching the unveiling of his gun control platform as closely as the campaign allows, and we’ll have a full report here once the plan’s been released.